This weekend was a pretty good one where beer was concerned, but when you drink as many new beers as I do, you learn to enjoy the really good beers, and let the bad beers just kind of roll off you. Chalk it up to part of the craft beer lifestyle, you have to “kiss a lot of frogs” to get to the good stuff.
Well this weekend went better than many, where I had two really stellar brews that I wanted to share with you, and one that was good, but what took it from Prince to Frog status was the price.
Laughing Dog: 14 Dogs Barleywine.
Laughing Dog has done it again, and in a very big way with 14 Dogs Barleywine. This 14% ABV barleywine is huge, but thanks to it spending over a year in old Elijah Craig bourbon barrels it is so mellow, and all that alcohol heat is turned into caramel and vanilla flavors with a lingering warmth that is so easy in your chest that you think you must have fallen asleep in a hot tub.
The flavor is fabulous. It has the dark fruit flavors of many barleywines, but it also has a bit of a citrus bite on the back side to announce a bit of a hop presence. I really don’t like barleywines that don’t have any hop presence and taste like fermented hot raisins. This beer is so well balanced it just eases you in, and has no cloying sweetness, just great flavor and and pleasing warmth. This is a very dangerous brew, however because you can’t feel all that alcohol and it is very easy to drink. Princely for sure!
21st Amendment/Ninkasi Collaboration Brew: Allies Win the War
I have a secret to confess, I’ve had this beer before…a lot. Yes, I first had this brew when it just came out several months ago, and unlike 21st amendment’s Monk’s Blood, this collaboration brew with Ninkasi Brewing has never failed to deliver…not once.
This is truly a very nice beer. It is brewed with Dates and has a very nice sweetness, not cloying in the least, and well balanced with a big maltiness and nice hop finish. This beer is a truly fantastic collaboration beer, but here is a little surprise, it isn’t getting a lot of love from reviewers. I think I know why.
While this beer was truly satisfying and a nice winter brew at 8.5% ABV, it costs $3.50 for a 12 oz can. Put this in a bottle and we don’t have an issue. Put it in a 750 ML bottle with a cork and charge $12 for it and it is fabulous, but it is unassuming in a 12 oz aluminum can, and it gets little respect. I know we get all jazzed about beer in cans around these parts, but this brew truly suffers from its vessel choice IMO. I think there is still a stigma attached to beer in cans, it should be cheap, and if it isn’t it gets passed over. Don’t make this mistake. This is a wonderful beer and very much worth every penny of the $3.50 I paid for it. It is a prince too.
Courage Brewing: Russian Imperial Stout
This beer was a head scratcher. It was a good enough RIS with good maltiness, a nice mouthfeel, and a high ABV at 10%. So far so good, right? Well here is where I and this beer part ways. In my opinion it was no better than the ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive Old Rasputin RIS from North Coast Brewing, but you’d think this English import was brewed for the Queen herself. This 9.3 oz bottle ran a cool $9.00! That’s right this brew was a dollar per ounce! Fine if I was using it as an aftershave, but for a beer that would only last me 15 minutes at the outside? Too rich for my blood! This photo contains $2 worth of beer! Let’s be fair, its flavor was good, but its price puts it squarely in frog territory for me.
How about you? Did you have any princely beers this weekend? Or did you struggle with frogs? Let us know below in the comments.